These days, who can afford to fall behind the curve when it comes to cybersecurity knowledge?

In a fast-moving sector, new threats emerge all the time. Sometimes, it can take all the time and effort we have to avoid being submerged by new developments – and that’s where cybersecurity podcasts come in.

The web plays host to some fantastic infosec-related podcasts at the moment, and there are few better sources of cybersec updates. If you struggle to wade through white papers or the tech press, but feel the need to stay informed, these shows are essential listening.

We certainly wouldn’t miss an episode. That’s why we’ve put together our list of the top 5 cybersecurity podcasts. It costs nothing to subscribe to these shows, and – who knows – the information they provide could be a game-changer for individuals and businesses alike. So let’s get to know them better, starting with..

1. Unsupervised Learning

Owner: Daniel Miessler

Date of podcast launch: January 2015

Number of episodes: 171

Three typical topics: Reports back from ENIGMA conferences, Google security breaches, Cyberwar updates

Website: https://danielmiessler.com/podcast/

Other platforms: iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, Spotify

Number of subscribers: 20,000

Daniel Miessler is one of the world’s foremost infosec experts, speaking at industry conferences, advising corporations, and shaping debates in all kinds of cybersecurity fields. But at heart, he’s an enthusiast for the security sector, reaching far and wide to populate his blogs and articles.

This appetite for stories and new ideas led him to create Unsupervised Learning back in 2015. Since then, Miessler’s mix of eclectic subject matter and his measured authority have made UL a must-listen for those in the sector – and for anyone with a geeky interest in cybersecurity.

What can you expect from a typical episode? Plenty of content, for starters. If it’s being discussed in the media and has a cybersec slant, Miessler will cover it. Or he might devote an entire episode to a major story, providing a deep dive that you won’t find anywhere else. Either way, its compelling stuff.

2. Darknet diaries

Owner: Jack Rhysider

Date of podcast launch: September 2017

Number of episodes: 35

Three typical topics: ATM hacking, the history of carding, Stuxnet

Website: https://darknetdiaries.com/

Other platforms: RSS, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, Google

Number of subscribers: 40,000 (approximately)

Covering “true stories from the dark side of the internet,” Darknet Diaries offers crucial reading for people who are realistic about the cyber-threats posed to today’s businesses and individuals. There’s no romanticization here, just cool analysis of hot topics dealing with crime and technology.

Founded by security expert Jack Rhysider (who also runs the popular TunnelsUp blog), the podcast keeps a focus on stories that have everyday relevance. You’re likely to hear about how to keep credit card details safe when shopping online, how the internet of things presents new, unusual vulnerabilities, and much more.

The good thing about Darknet Diaries is that Rhysider doesn’t seek to alarm. He tries to educate users in an entertaining, accessible fashion. Sure, he lapses into geekdom every now and then, but most people with a passing knowledge of tech will get a kick out his work.

3. The Social-Engineer Podcast

Owner: Chris “loganWHD” Hadnagy

Date of podcast launch: October 2009

Number of episodes: 116

Three typical topics: Is online privacy possible?, misinformation techniques, the psychology of social engineering

Website: https://www.social-engineer.org/category/podcast/

Other platforms: Spotify, iTunes

Number of subscribers: Unknown

Social engineering is one of the driving forces behind today’s internet, but few ordinary web users have a clue what it entails. As the aptly named Social Engineering collective explains, this technique is all about coercing people to take actions that benefit the “engineer.” They could be good, they could be bad, but one thing’s for certain – social engineers are helping to guide you around the web at this very moment.

The SE podcast goes under the hood of the web to explore how social engineering is being applied, how powerful its practitioners really are, and how businesses use SE techniques to their advantage. Because of this, the audience varies from ruthless marketers who want to get an edge, to cybersecurity officers who want to know details about phishing threats. And, of course, plenty of ordinary people tune in to understand how they are being manipulated.

Unlike other cybersecurity podcasts, this show also wrestles with human psychology. It’s like a mix of Scientific American and Hakin9 – offering a measured take on what makes humans vulnerable to social engineers. Expect plenty of interviews from reformed hackers, cryptocurrency mavens, and even an academic or two.

Again, Social Engineering differs from other cybersecurity podcasts by posting relatively infrequently. It’s been broadcasting since 2009, and has just reached a century milestone. That’s no bad thing, though. It’s just a sign of the quality control exercised by Chris Hadnagy and his collaborators.

4. Smashing security

Owner: Graham Cluley and Carole Theriault

Date of podcast launch: December 2016

Number of episodes: 123

Three typical topics: Abusive corporate apps, adult website censorship, the pros and cons of 2FA

Website: https://www.smashingsecurity.com/

Other platforms: RSS, iTunes, Overcast, Google, Pocketcasts, Spotify

Number of subscribers: Unknown

Self-described as “helpful and hilarious,” Smashing Security takes a light-hearted look at current infosec concerns, but manages to do so without sacrificing expertise. Powered by the enthusiasm of co-hosts Cluley and Theriault, the show ranges widely, casting its net across cybercrime and personal security – whatever captures the imaginations of the team that particular week.

Winner of 2018’s “Best Security Podcast” at the European Security Blogger Awards, Smashing Security balances accessibility and technical chops pretty well, avoiding sounding patronizing to listeners while keeping jargon to a minimum. So it’s one of those cybersecurity podcasts where you can “dive right in” and find something to pass an hour or two, whatever your infosec knowledge.

Every episode seeks to anchor the content in the real world, which is another huge strength. For instance, recent shows have talked about how major corporations like Office Depot have used scams to trick customers into purchasing unnecessary security tools. There have been shows on motel owners using apps to “hijack” customers devices, as well as security threats related to LinkedIn profiles. In other words, the kind of stories you wish you’d hear more about in the MSM, but tend to get lost in the churn.

As with the best cybersecurity podcasts, Smashing Security’s hosts don’t go it alone. They invite plenty of engaging guests on to share their expertise (and bad jokes). And the hosts know what they are talking about. Before helming the podcast, Cluley wrote the very first iteration of “Dr. Solomon’s Anti-Virus Toolkit,” while Theriault’s Sophos Naked Security is one of the best sources of anti-virus news around.

5. The Shared Security podcast

Owner: Scott Wright and Tom Eston

Date of podcast launch: 2009

Number of episodes: 79

Three typical topics: Five Eyes surveillance updates, WhatsApp privacy, are elections safe from hackers?

Website: https://sharedsecurity.net/podcast-episodes/

Other platforms: Stitcher, iTunes, Google, TuneIn, Spotify

Number of subscribers: Unknown

One of the oldest cybersecurity podcasts on this list, but far from stale, Shared Security has a legendary reputation in the cybersecurity world. Starting out with a strong focus on social media security, the creators Wright and Eston have branched out since 2009, incorporating IoT vulnerabilities, mobile devices, PoS threats, and discussions of global politics. The result is a general source of privacy updates that are sure to be relevant to everyone’s online lifestyle.

The concept behind the podcast is simple. In an interconnected world, huge numbers of people rely on platforms and technology that are “shared” like a common resource. And the only way to keep that technology safe is to educate users to know about threats to its integrity.

At the moment, content is divided into the old school Shared Security podcast, which appears infrequently, and weekly updates which (as the name suggests) are delivered every week. Subscribers can rely on the hosts to cover the week’s most pressing topics, then look forward to in-depth discussions informed by serious expertise, when the main podcast drops. And it’s well worth the wait because Eston and Wright put vast amounts of research into every segment.